On our Texas road trip we took a day off from driving and visited Carlsbad Caverns! Months before we arrived I had signed us all up for a ranger led tour of the lower cave. It costs $20 per person and was totally worth it. I did sign up month in advance and the tour did sell out (only 12 people on this tour + the two park rangers). And even more impressive was that everyone who signed up showed up!
The tour starts with introductions – and not just name and where you live, these introductions included your favorite documentary and the all important question ‘are you here of your own volition’.
Then we got our equipment – hard hat, headlamp and gloves. We had to bring three AA batteries for the headlamp -and also impressive everyone remembered their batteries!
Once everyone had their equipment we went down the elevator which takes you down 750 feet into the main cavern. It’s pretty developed, there are bathrooms and a snack bar down there with asphalt paths and stainless steel hand rails.
We quickly made our way to the ‘secret’ spot on the trail and made our way to the lower cavern. In order to do that you go down a rope (see lower right picture above) Then you go down a series of three ladders.
Once down there was tape on the path showing you were to step and where not to step. The tour took us over some ‘bridges’, crawling through tunnels, seeing the ‘wildlife’ a worm, cave crickets and bat fossils.
Really liked the ‘adventure’ on this tour and that we saw cave pearls, animals and the ranger had pictures of famous people who had toured the cave and talked about the preservation of it. There were no stalactite or stalagmite mentions on this tour!
The tour took a little over 3 hours and was fantastic! After the tour we walked around the main cave. That comes off as commercial after being on the specialized tour, but the cave is absolutely huge and there is so much there. If you ever have the chance I highly recommend a stop here!